MDF trim vs wood

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68bucks

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So we're still working on our addition plan and a builder I have been talking to priced it out and in the quote specified MDF trim. I have only ever used wood trim, mainly pine. Any opinions on MDF vs pine trim? I tend to not like the MDF idea but I'm not sure why. Guess it just seems sort of chintz to me.
 
I'm finishing my basement, the difference in price between finger jointed primed pine and MDF is pennies on a 12' piece of trim. At least retail at Lowe's. I'm going to use finger jointed pine. I find the MDF can mushroom more with finish nailer driven finish nails.
 
I did our kitchen with MDF trim because I was in a pinch for time and money re-doing a whole house and trying to move in quickly. The idea was to paint it all white. Slap up the cabinets and trim it out the cheapest way possible and move on to the next room. Down the road if I wanted to do some fancy trim I wouldn’t mind tossing the MDF. I used the basic rectangle shape with the front edges rounded over.



It looks ok and it has been 10 years and I haven’t felt the need to upgrade it.



A couple places where it gets a little moisture it has swelled a little and she keeps reminding me it was temporary trim.



I would do it again and if yours will be painted and they have the shape you want once painted you wont tell the difference. If you want the finished wood look then go with wood.
 
I'm finishing my basement, the difference in price between finger jointed primed pine and MDF is pennies on a 12' piece of trim. At least retail at Lowe's. I'm going to use finger jointed pine. I find the MDF can mushroom more with finish nailer driven finish nails.
Just checked prices and it looks like MDF has came up a lot from the last time I bought any. Back then it was about half the price of pine if I recall.



Clear pine would painted would nail better you are correct. I drilled all mine and hand nailed.
 
Just checked prices and it looks like MDF has came up a lot from the last time I bought any. Back then it was about half the price of pine if I recall.



Clear pine would painted would nail better you are correct. I drilled all mine and hand nailed.
Clear pine is much more expensive than finger jointed. I'd only spend the extra for clear if I was going to stain it. I was surprised that there was virtually no difference in price per foot for MDF v primed finger jointed.
 
Clear pine is much more expensive than finger jointed. I'd only spend the extra for clear if I was going to stain it. I was surprised that there was virtually no difference in price per foot for MDF v primed finger jointed.
My mistake I think of finger joined as clear because it has no knotholes. Yes clear is very expensive.



Finger joined was about 2X and the reason I used MDF to save some money.



This stuff is always changing when my dad built our home in the 60s he did the whole house with Philippine Mahogany because it was cheap. Now they have foam trim with printed wood grain and that’s not even cheap.
 
This will all be painted white and nothing fancy being done, just basic trim stuff. I know about the moisture issues with MDF but I don't anticipate anything like that, it won't be in a basement or on a slab. I looked at prices at the big box places and its not a lot cheaper. I worry more about durability. What happens when it gets bumped by the sweeper, what happens when a grandkid bangs into it with a toy, stuff like that. Thanks for the feedback.
 
This will all be painted white and nothing fancy being done, just basic trim stuff. I know about the moisture issues with MDF but I don't anticipate anything like that, it won't be in a basement or on a slab. I looked at prices at the big box places and its not a lot cheaper. I worry more about durability. What happens when it gets bumped by the sweeper, what happens when a grandkid bangs into it with a toy, stuff like that. Thanks for the feedback.
MDF is pretty durable stuff. It doesn't like to get wet, but that would really be standing in water, or possibly soaking up moisture from a slab. I used some MDF in a few places on my current project, but given the price difference (literally pennies) I'll use finger jointed on the baseboards and door trim.
 
I would say compared to pine trim MDF is the tougher material in terms of impact denting. It is heavy stuff but weight shouldn’t be an issue.



Our old place the kitchen floors have slope to them and when the stove was put in place and leveled the gap at the front really drew your eye to it. I made a tapered filler piece from MDF and rounded the edged and finished it with gloss black to match the stove. It actually looks like part of the stove and made the gap go away. It would have been very difficult to get that look on painted wood with grain.



MDF is also a great material for speaker boxes because it is so dense.



For trim it has its place as long as it is price effective.
 
I installed PVC trim in all my bathrooms. It is impervious to water and easy to work with. Yeah, it may be a few pennies more, but it'll last forever.
 
I did PVC also in the bathroom baseboards and around shower. The door I did in the MDF like the rest of the room.



PVC I thought was a lot more expensive though. Maybe it has come down also.
 
I think I'm going to go with the MDF. I asked the builder why MDF. He said the thi g they like about is that when it's painted it looks perfect. He said with the pine a lot of times you can see the finger joints and grain so it looks rougher. MDF he said looks like it was extruded on the wall, really smooth. He put it in his home and has kids and do damage issues. He said it might be harder to dent than pine. We are painting it anyway so I think it will be MDF. Might adjust that in the bath though. Thanks again.
 
Don't forget doors if you have any old flat hollow core doors.

 
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